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Bethesda would "probably say no" to an Elder Scrolls show or movie

Todd Howard says "there's nothing in the works"

Yagrum Bagarn, the last dwarf, sits corpulent upon mechanical spider legs in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bethesda Softworks

With the Fallout live-action show now out and honestly far better than I was expecting, are Bethesda also brewing an adaptation of their other big RPG series, The Elder Scrolls? Not at present, according to Bethesda executive producer Todd Howard, and he says he'd "probably say no" if approached. Mind you, that was the stance he had until Fallout finally fell into place.

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Todd Howard talked with the Ian Games Network earlier this week about how the Fallout show came to be, and how "for like, a decade" he had turned down making the retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic RPG into a show or movie because he "wasn't really feeling it." That changed, he said, when he met and "hit it off" with the show's executive producer-to-be Jonathan Nolan, who also directed the first three episodes. So as for The Elder Scrolls, it sounds like he's in roughly the same place he was with Fallout before meeting J. No.

"I don't know. There's nothing in the works," Howard told IGN. "Everybody asks, like, about Elder Scrolls, and I keep saying no also. And I would approach those - I'll probably say no. You never know if someone's gunna click. But I think this really came out of, 'we think things are aligning to do a high-quality job.' It wasn't forced. It was kind of a natural relationship and 'hey, this sounds really cool.' As opposed to, 'we should have a show,' right? It never came from that."

Howard does note, "I can't predict the future," so who knows, maybe we'll yet see live-action versions of such memorable Elder Scrolls characters as Poht Nudel, Nik The Nak, and B'Cardi Breesa.

As little as I enjoy what Bethesda have made from Fallout since buying the series rights and using them to reskin The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the games do have a tone and aesthetic that are rare and welcome on my TV—especially after so many modern post-apocalyptic shows have been grey zombie miseryfests. But the world is certainly not short on bland fantasy shows, and The Elder Scrolls is a bland jumble of largely generic fantasy. While the setting and series have had weird and delightful parts (our Edwin is particularly fond of Elder Scrolls cosmology), Betheda Game Studios have focused more on generic aspects over the decades since their last interesting game, 2002's Morrowind.

Should an Elder Scrolls show one day happen—and I assume it eventually will in this era of innumerable and largely boring adaptations of books, comics, and video games—I hope a nasty little Morrowind freak is in charge.

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